Blues experience life without their captain, at least for a game

News-DemocratDecember 17, 2013 

— The St. Louis Blues got to experience life without their captain Tuesday and it proved to be a difficult undertaking.

Blues captain David Backes missed the 4-2 home loss against the San Jose Sharks and remains listed day-to-day because of an upper-body injury.

Backes was injured Monday in a collision with Ottawa's Colin Greening late in the second period. His absence of any duration is huge since the veteran center is off to a strong start with 16 goals and 30 points in 32 games.

Backes had played in 274 straight games (289 counting the playoffs) since last missing one on Jan. 25, 2010 (upper-body injury).

He played in every game the last three seasons, plus the first 32 games of 2013-14 until Tuesday.

Blues wingers Vladimir Sobotka (five goals, 15 points) and Jaden Schwartz (eight goals, 22 points), who both missed Monday's overtime loss in Ottawa because of upper-body injuries, sat out a second straight game.

That left the Blues with seven defensemen dressed instead of the usual six, with defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo inserted on left wing.

"Everyone talks about how great our depth is," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "We know that even if we lose three big guys like that we have guys that can chip in."

Shattenkirk knows the Blues won't be the only team in the league to deal with injuries.

"I don't think there's a team in this league that's not going to go through some injury battles," Shattenkirk said. "When you lose your captain there's other guys that have to become leaders quickly. I think I can do a much better job that well and we all have to step up and take a little piece of that job, just come together even closer a team and fight through it."

Backes is considered one of top players for the Team USA hockey contingent headed to Sochi, Russia next month for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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